Chapterhouse was formed in Reading, England in 1987 by Andrew Sherriff (guitar/vocals), Stephen Patman (guitar), Simon Rowe (guitar), Jon Curtis (bass) and Ashley Bates (drums).
Unlike many English bands, who were signed to record contracts before ever playing live or recording a demo, Chapterhouse would spend an entire year rehearsing and gigging before recording a demo tape. It would take them three years to perfect their trancey pop atmospherics before they released their first singles.
A 1988 gig in Reading caught the ear of Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom who
wanted to release the band’s music on his Bop-a-Sonic label.
The group eventually signed with BMG’s Dedicated subsidiary, then home to the Cranes, Global Communication, and Spacemen 3.
Because of their association with Spacemen 3, which also included performing with that rather laidback band, Chapterhouse found themselves
lumped in with the British acid rock scene of the time.
They would escape from that genre, only to find themselves lumped in with the shoegazer groups of the early 1990s (Lush, Moose and Slowdive) in
the so-called "Scene That Celebrates Itself," as alternately championed and ridiculed by the U.K. press.
At the end of 1990 the group replaced bassist Jon Curtis with Vermont born Russell Barrett and also released a pair of four-song singles, Freefall and Sunburst, both which received mostly favorable reviews.
Released early in 1991, the single, “Pearl”
featuring an oft-used John Bonham sample and background vocals from Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell
would reach #67 on the UK Top 75 charts.
“Pearl,” plus new tracks, would set the stage for the descriptively titled Whirlpool.
Gauzy dream-pop with a solid structural center… layers of echoey guitar fuzz and wispy voices… could have, and should have, won a bigger name for itself,
but Whirlpool would fall victim to a growing backlash in England to the shoegazer scene, while in the States it was completely ignored (as was anything British), once Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten hit the charts.
With four producers (Robin Guthrie, Stephen Hague, John Fryer, and Ralph Jezzard) Whirlpool functions more as a collection of mostly killer tracks then as a unified piece.
"Breather" with its mix of acoustic and electric guitars kicks off the album followed by "Pearl" with its
trancey beats, John Bonham samples, and some fine art-glazed feedback riffs to create as perfect a nugget of the era as any.
Other standouts include, "Falling Down" with its heavy-groove action, Madchester as played by Loop, the slow-build/rave-up/freak-out/repeat of "Autosleeper" and the guitar wash that runs through out the length of "April."
At the end of 1991 Chapterhouse released the single, “Mesmerise,” then went silent.
During that hiatus the band re-invented themselves as the 1993 release of Blood Music so shockingly demonstrated.
Letting go their drummer, the remaining quartet immersed themselves in rhythm on the Pascal Gabriel (Inspiral Carpets, EMF, Peter Murphy) produced Blood Music. While they still maintain their airy vocal presence, Blood Music is guitars brought down to earth with an increased reliance on keyboards, samples and heavy electronic percussion.
Two singles, She’s a Vision" and "We Are the Beautiful," from the album, were successive, successful singles, but a sampling lawsuit caused the album to be withdrawn.
Global Communication would later rework much of Blood Music’s music for the remix album Pentamerous Metamorphosis.
1996’s Rownderbout is a collection of
singles, various B-sides, rarities and unreleased demos which featured Slowdive drummer Simon Scott.
Though Chapterhouse has been silent for nearly 15 years, its members were not. Sherriff continued to work in electronic music forming Bio.com, Rowe played guitar guitar for Mojave 3 and Bates formed the trip-hop band Cuba (aka Air Cuba).
Although they are not reforming permanently, the group has performed live, beginning with the 2008 Truck Festival where they
played a version of "Love Forever" with Ulrich Schnauss on the Barn Stage.
In November 2009 they performed with Ulrich Schnauss and Kirsty Hawkshaw at the Club AC30’s Reverence show at the ICA.
Because of the success that show the band
happily agreed to play a handful of shows in 2010 to give fans one last chance to see them play live.
2010 found the group playing The Scala in London in March. They followed that up with a mini tour of Japan in April, finishing their mini reunion with a series of North American shows (Chicago, New York, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco) in September and October.
Whirlpool (LP) Dedicated 1991
Whirlpool (CD) BMG Victor 1991
Whirlpool (LP 12", S/Sided) Dedicated 1991
Whirlpool (Cass) RCA 1991
Whirlpool (CD, LP) Dedicated 1991
Whirlpool (CD) BMG 1991
Whirlpool (CD) RCA 1991
Whirlpool (CD) Cherry Red 2006
Whirlpool (CD) Cherry Red 2008
Whirlpool – The Original Recordings (CD) Space Age Recordings 2009
Blood Music (CD) Dedicated 1993
Blood Music (2xCD) Arista US 1993
Blood Music (2xCD, 2xLP) Dedicated Europe 1993
Blood Music (CD) Dedicated Germany 1993
Blood Music (Cass) Dedicated UK 1993
Blood Music (CD) Cherry Red 2008
Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis (CD) Dedicated UK 1993
Blood Music (Pentamerous Metamorphosis) (12") Dedicated UK 1993
Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis (CD) Dedicated US 1993
Pentamerous Metamorphosis (2xLP) Dedicated US 1998
Pentamerous Metamorphosis (CD) Dedicated US 1998
Pentamerous Metamorphosis (CD) Dedicated UK 1998
Chapterhouse Retranslated By Global Communication – Blood Music + Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis (CD) Dedicated 1993
Singles & EPs:
Sunburst (CD Single) Dedicated UK 1990
Sunburst EP (12") Dedicated UK 1990
Sunburst EP (12") Dedicated UK 1990
Freefall EP (CD EP) Dedicated UK 1990
Freefall EP (12") Dedicated UK 1990
Freefall EP (12" Promo) Dedicated UK 1990
Something More (7") Dedicated 1990
Pearl (CD Single) Dedicated UK 1991
Pearl (12") Dedicated UK 1991
Pearl (7") Dedicated UK 1991
Mesmerise (CD EP) Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise/Falling Down/Falling Down/Junkmale/Outshine The Sun (12"+ 7") Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise Remix (12") Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise Remix (12" Single) Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise (12") Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise (7") Dedicated 1991
Mesmerise (CD Single) RCA 1991
Losing Touch With My Mind (7" Flexi) Chapterhouse 1991
Falling Down (CD Single) RCA 1991
She’s A Vision (CD) Dedicated UK 1993
She’s A Vision (12") Dedicated UK 1993
She’s A Vision (7") Dedicated UK 1993
She’s A Vision (CD Maxi) BMG Germany 1993
We Are The Beautiful (CD Maxi) Dedicated Germany 1993
We Are The Beautiful (12" Maxi) Dedicated UK 1993
We Are The Beautiful (12" Promo) Dedicated UK 1993
We Are The Beautiful (7" Single) Dedicated 1993
We Are The Beautiful (CD) Dedicated Germany 1993
We Are The Beautiful (CD) Arista US 1993
We Are The Beautiful (VHS) Dedicated US 1993
Don’t Look Now (12") Dedicated 1993
"Breather" Live & Unreleased (Cass) Vox Magazine 1991
"Pearl" Dedicated 92 (CD) Dedicated 1991
"We Are The Beautiful (Spookys Extravaganja Dub Mix)" "Arista Alternative? You’re Shittin’ Me!" (CD) Arista 1993
"There’s Still Life" The Alternative Way – Everything Is Beautiful (CD) Ariola Benelux 1993
"Pearl" Like A Daydream – A Shoegazing Guide (CD) Castle Music 2006
Singles & EPs:
"Mesmerise" Mesmerise/Falling Down/Falling Down/Junkmale/Outshine The Sun (12") Dedicated 1991
"Falling Down" Split (7" Single) Town & Country Club 1991
"Falling Down" Dedicated: An Introduction (CD) RCA 1990
"Lady Godiva’s Operation" Heaven & Hell – A Tribute To The Velvet Underground – Volume One (CD, LP) Communion Label 1990
"Lady Godiva’s Operation" Heaven And Hell Volume One: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground (CD, LP) Imaginary Records 1990
"Guilt" Sniffin Rock #11 (7") Sniffin Rock 1990
"Precious One" Indie Top 20 Volume 13 (2xLP, CD) Beechwood Music 1991
"Pearl" Happy Daze – Volume Two (CD, LP) Island Records 1991
"Falling Down" Kinetic Aesthetic Magnetic (CD) RCA, BMG 1991
"Precious One" Best Of Independent 20 (Cass, CD) Beechwood Music 1992
"Mesmerise" Maxi-Music (CD) SPG Music Productions Ltd. 1992
"Then We’ll Rise" (Over A Century Of Vivisection And Anti-Vivisection) How Much Longer? (LP) Anti-Vivisection Agency 1992
"It Won’t Be Wrong" 1965. Through The Looking Glass (CD) Imaginary Records 1992
"Breather" The Best Of The Mark Goodier Radio 1 Sessions – Volume 1 – Exclusive & Unreleased Recordings (CD) Nighttracks 1992
"We Are The Beautiful" Indie Top 20 Volume 18 (2xLP, CD) Beechwood Music 1993
"We Are The Beautiful" CMJ New Music November – Volume 4 (CD) College Music Journal 1993
"We Are The Beautiful" The Serious Road Trip (3xCD) MCA Records 1994
"Delta Phase" Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album (CD) Dedicated, BMG 1995
"Delta Phase" Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album (CD) Dedicated 1995
"Delta Phase" Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album (CD) HitIt! 1995
"Delta Phase" Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album (2xLP) Dedicated 1995
"Delta Phase" Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album (CD) Dedicated 1996
"We Are The Beautiful" Generation X – The Definitive Sound Of 90’s Indie (Cass, 3xCD) Generation X Music Ltd 1996
"It Won’t Be Wrong" A Taste Of… 3rd Stone Records Volume 2 (CD) 3rd Stone 1997
"Mesmerise (The Mesmerising Vocal Mix)" Splendor – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD) Astralwerks 1999
"Pearl" The Brit Box: UK Indie, Shoegaze, And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millennium (4xCD) Rhino Records 2007
"Pearl" Rob Da Bank – Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi Vol. 3 (Shoegazing 1985 – 2007) (CD) Soma Quality Recordings 2008
"Pearl" Rob Da Bank – Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi Vol. 3 (Shoegazing 1985 – 2009) (CD) Soma Quality Recordings 2009
"Treasure" (Chapterhouse) Violens – Summer 2010 Mixtape (CDr) Not On Label 2010
"Pearl" Plus Ultra – Autonomic Podcast Layer 10 (File AAC, MP3, Mixed) Autonomic 2010
"Treasure" Sight Below, The – FACT Mix 149 (File, MP3, Mixed) FACT Magazine 2010
Chapterhouse – Twobrednwor (2xCD) Not On Label
Playing Time: 71:54
1. Breather (4:20)
2. Pearl (4:52)
3. Autosleeper (4:50)
4. Treasure (6:22)
5. Falling Down (3:58)
6. April (4:39)
7. Guilt (4:15)
8. If You Want Me (2:41)
9. Something More (3:20)
10. Need (3:07)
11. Inside Me (4:40)
12. Sixteen Years (4:41)
13. Satin Safe (5:42)
14. Feel The Same (4:15)
15. Come Heaven (5:32)
16. In My Arms (4:40)
Buy Chapterhouse’s Whirlpool from Amazon.com
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